As you probably already know, the 27 Club is a term for all those singers who died too young, at the age of 27. The list is long and it includes, off the top of my head, Amy Winehouse, Jeff Buckley, Jimmy Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain and Janis Joplin.
In fact there is something important that happens astrologically for everyone at 27. It’s the Progressed Lunar Return. This is a 27-year cycle that astrologers use to prognosticate. The Moon is “progressed” through the chart, spending two and a half years in each sign. By the age of 27, an individual has lived a complete progressed lunar cycle, emotionally experiencing something of what it feels to be each of the 12 signs. Knowing where your moon is by progression is always a useful guide to the emotional impact of a particular phase.
The other astrological phenomenon that happens for everyone in their late 20s is the infamous Saturn Return, of course, which is on a slightly longer cycle — usually 28 years or so.
These two cycles follow a similar timetable initially and then pull gradually apart. Both are about maturing, coming of age and growing into each of our seven ages. Both the progressed Moon and Saturn (by transit) spend around two and a half years in each sign, but gradually Saturn falls behind.
Amy Winehouse was just a few degrees from both an exact Saturn Return and an exact Progressed Lunar Return when she died. Jim Morrison, on the other hand, was having an exact (to the degree) Progressed Lunar Return when he died, but his Saturn Return was still a full sign away.
So for the 27 Club, Saturn was returning or in the previous sign when they died. This is because the Saturn Return does not happen at exactly the same age for everyone. Your exact Saturn Return will happen at some time between the ages of 27 and 30. For example, Morrison’s was not due to become exact until 1973, and Saturn would not enter Gemini (the sign of Morrison’s natal Saturn) until after he died.
Now, since Christmas, Motorhead frontman Lemmy Kilminster, David Bowie, and the actor Alan Rickman have all passed through the veil. Lemmy had just turned 70, but Rickman and Bowie were both 69.
None of them were having a Saturn Return or a Progressed Lunar Return.
However, both Lemmy and Bowie were a few degrees (3°) from an exact Progressed Lunar opposition. In other words, by progression, the Moon was in the opposite sign to when they were born. They were at a point of maximum emotional extension. Furthermore, Bowie’s Progressed Moon was exactly opposite his natal Saturn in Leo.
But Alan Rickman had already been through the Progressed Lunar opposition, more than a year ago.
The Saturn cycle is not exact by degree for any of them either. Kilminster and Rickman both have Saturn in Cancer, so the Grim Reaper is a whole sign away from an opposition. Bowie had Saturn in Leo, so transiting Saturn was actually in an easy trine to his natal Saturn.
In conclusion, I think the Progressed Lunar cycle might be significant, but the Saturn cycle not so much.
I haven’t looked into any generational generalisations about the recent sad departures, but there may be something there. Old Man Saturn is in detriment in both Cancer and Leo, of course, and all three departed before becoming old men.
I don’t think there’s a 69 Club, but there’s no such thing as coincidence. I suspect the Saturn-Neptune square which dominates this year may have a hand in this: it is a hard aspect between the Grim Reaper and the planet of glamour. You can see it at work in all three charts, and it hardly needs pointing out that these men were, each in his own way, iconic.
In the charts on the left, the progressed planets are in green round the outside. Remember that outer planets barely move in the progressed chart. It’s the angles and the inner planets you’re looking at.
In case you’re wondering. yes, Bowie moved to Berlin on his first Saturn Return and produced the great Berlin trilogy in those years. On his second Saturn Return in 2004, he had a heart attack and stopped making music for a while.
Here is lovely young Alan Rickman singing in the film Truly, Madly, Deeply with Juliet Stevenson.